Friday, December 15, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 25, Stourhead, Stonehenge, Winchester, Avebury

The last day of tour was a whirlwind! We went back into England, but as we visited ancient megalithic sites, pre-saxon, pre-roman, likely even pre-celt, it was cool.

First we had to visit another grand estate. Stourhead was interesting, though, because of its grand gardens that have been used for filming many a movie including the Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and some dude.

At one point, we saw some of our group reenacting scenes from what we can only assume was P&P as they were all Jane Austen fans.
Mama Swan with her cygnets
My wife and I had been to Stonehenge in 2010. It is now much improved with the parking moved some distance away with a bus shuttle.

In the queue for the Stonehenge shuttle
At least one of the roads has been closed and restored so you can no longer peer through the chain link fence at the heel stone.

The Heel Stone without chain link and highway.
And the big news is that I have solved the mystery of Stonehenge! I was using my camera zoom to try and see axe-heads carved in the stones and I found the signature of the guy who built the thing! He carved his name right on it!

Actually, Victorian graffiti 
And amazingly, I solve the mystery of how the stones were transported! It was on the back of giant snakes that usually carried big pumpkins!

I can't find anything on the web to explain this.
You can see the pumpkin snake here for perspective.

Pumpkin snake clearly visible right of center.
They now have exhibits and a better museum at the new parking area.

A more likely depiction of how our possible ancestors may have moved the stones.
And sample huts based on recent excavations near Woodhenge.
There is a lot more information from recent archaeology indicating that Stonehenge may have been part of a processional complex over many miles to feast at midwinter, carry the ashes of the dead to the river, and arrive in procession at Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice, the dawning of a new year when the sun turns back towards us. Probably more likely than the pumpkin snake, but still . . .

Stonehenge never disappoints.

Then we made a quick stop in Winchester.

Winchester street scene.
Fake Roundtable. The first clue is that King Arthur was not a Tudor.
(Combined red rose of Lancaster and white rose of York in center).
My wife and Victoria are not amused.
Winchester Cathedral
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town
The actual grave of the actual Jane Austen in Winchester Cathedral
Then another quick stop at Avebury. Bigger rocks than Stonehenge, but not as uniformly trimmed. Very weird neighboring sites.

The ancient and conical Silbury Hill. Nobody has figured this one out yet.
Procession stones at Avebury.
In 2010, my wife and I went out here at night with a full moon
But when we turned on our torches (flashlights), the cows all started towards us.
My wife, "Turn off the flashlight! Turn it off!" Not a fan of cows.
Another group at Avebury.
Our group between Avebury stones

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